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My home is valued by your site at 267K. I have 2 appraisals placing it at 315K. Why the difference?

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August 06 2009 - Melbourne
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Profile picture for harpo73
Zillow seems to go too far into the past - over 2 years in some cases to determine the comps. So it misses a changing market. In Toledo right now virtually every house is selling below Zillow's estimates. They need to weight more recent sales more signficantly.
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August 07 2009
Profile picture for MelissaGal
Thank you all so much.  I want to also point out that when we were buying a home a year ago, our LENDER'S loan rep. even used Zillow as a way to get an estimate!  Fortunately, our home should close tomorrow and all is well.  I thought I'd check out the site because SO many buyers mentioned it, and because of our experience with our lender a year ago.  Buyers--many of them--truly believe it to be gospel.  I was a little taken aback by the "zestimate" because of the large disparity in value.  I appreciate your input.
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August 06 2009
I can appreciate your frustration. Hopefully you have a Realtor representing you that can educate the buyer with a CMA showing the true value. The market is very localized and not taken into consideration by Zillow.
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August 06 2009
Profile picture for sunnyview
I definitely understand. People see a number on Zillow and some think "well then that's the value" without really understanding even where the numbers come from. I think that educating buyers is important and it really helps you as a seller too. I often talk to people that are buying on Zillow when they ask about the Zestimate and try to explain what it truly is. Buyers tend to want to use it as a short cut and ask how much above/below the Zestimate they should offer. I tell them to use the recently sold comps and ignore the Zestimate because that number may be too high or too low to begin with. 

Talk to your buyers about your appraisals, I think that will help a lot. You can even offer them an appraisal guarantee. If the house doesn't appraise for your sales price, they you give them $100. With two recent appraisals, your money is safe and your buyers might focus on the appraisal like they should instead of a public records based number like the Zestimate. 
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August 06 2009
Profile picture for MelissaGal
Thanks for responding.  I'm frustrated because I cannot tell you (as a seller) HOW many times people looked at the home and said, "But Zillow says..."  I think this site is potentially harmful because people don't read the "fine print." 
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August 06 2009
Profile picture for sunnyview
Zillow is not an appraisal. They cannot see your house and deal mainly in aggregated data from different public sources. Appraisers can also be wrong or biased just like CMA's from realtors can be. The best guide about the value of your house if a qualified buyer with a signed contract in hand. Truthfully, everything else is some form of an educated guess. If you are wondering about the validity of the appraisal, I would rely on that much more than the Zestimate because the appraiser was able to see your house in person and choose the comps for your house by hand. That should make their opinion of value much more accurate than Zillow can be. You can read more about how they calculate the Zestimates here.
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August 06 2009
 
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